ENTERPRISING JOURNEYS

Introducing The Smart Second Brain Your Business Needs

Michelle Broadbent

Michelle Broadbent

The Business
Michelle Broadbent
The Founder
Michelle Broadbent, 2016
The Concept
Tailored strategies, solutions and support to get female businesses back on track
The Best Part Of The Job
I meet women from incredibly random service-based businesses and have learnt so much about industries I never thought I would
If I Could Have One Wish
I’d have a magic mirror to help women see how amazing they actually are, and what their gifts are. Because every woman I talk to undersells herself, second guesses herself, and I’m one of those women too. So much isn’t being done because women are keeping themselves small.

The Crucial First Client

You never know where your first client is going to come from and for Michelle Broadbent that was certainly the case. Broadbent was in the very early days of running her business strategy start-up when she attended a long lunch in the NSW southern highlands. When the lady opposite her, who owned her own catering business, asked what she did she thought, ‘Here goes’.

“From that conversation came my first client,” says Broadbent. “When she texted later and said she wanted to work with me I [panicked] because my website and logo weren’t ready. But none of that actually mattered because once I started doing the work I realised there was an actual need for my business.”

That was in 2016 and today Broadbent advises around 25 business women each year, working one-on-one to give them the strategies and confidence to meet their goals. It’s a far cry from the world of television in her previous career, where she worked with two start-ups in television program distribution, acquiring then selling factual content and documentaries such as Better Homes and Gardens and Harry’s Practice.

“There was no tech to help us back then but that’s the way my brain works – processes and systems, efficiency, doing things faster, better, less complicated.”

Reinventing Herself

After 12 years her job satisfaction had plummeted, she’d had two children and knew staying in the demanding role would require a lot more travel despite already missing too much of her daughters’ lives.

“But I didn’t know what I was outside that industry, so I worked with a career coach to help me unlock what it was about me that was valuable to other people that I didn’t see in myself.”

Simply titled ‘Michelle Broadbent’, the business sees Broadbent working with female founders, small and micro business owners from interior designers to marketing specialists, lawyers and accountants, helping them overcome the operational challenges of running a business alone.

“I’m their 2IC, their non-financial silent partner,” she says.

An Area Of Need

Typically clients approach Broadbent after running their business for 18 months or more, having experienced the highs and lows of going it alone, finding the stress of the business unsustainable but not sure where to turn.

Broadbent begins by immersing herself in the business to see what’s working and what isn’t, assessing the owner’s goals and priorities and how best to efficiently meet them.

“Getting clear on what they want to do and where they want to be, in business and in life, is really important to me because I don’t just look at them as businesswomen but how the business fits into their whole life and other competing priorities. Then we make a plan.”

The main areas of need tend to be resourcing (Broadbent often helps women hire their first staff member or secure premises), overhauling websites and sorting out finances. “It’s helping them identify their priorities and shortcutting the road to the solution.”

A Proud Single Mum And Business Owner

Broadbent knows well about identifying priorities, after her marriage broke down just 12 months into starting her business.

“It was a real ‘come to Jesus’ moment when I had to decide whether to keep going or not, because it’s very different starting a business in the security of a marriage when there’s another income.”

She ultimately made the brave decision to back herself and provide a positive example to her two daughters.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Treat your business the way you’d treat others. “I wasn’t prioritising my business because I was looking after everyone else first.”

Stop comparing yourself to others. “I kept thinking I wasn’t as worthy of a seat at the table as someone else, but then you realise no-one actually knows what they’re doing!”

Advice

Use your network. “The barista in the coffee shop, the mum at the school gate - my business has come from the most random places.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. “People are really generous and open and will often connect you with like-minded women.”

Seek out events, workshops and seminars with women doing similar things. “Women in Business, Business Chicks and Mothers Den were all helpful.”

Be brave. Broadbent would regularly approach the panelists themselves at events, often politely following them up later.

Finally, O’Brien says mistakes will happen. Learn from them. She initially named her first start-up ‘Oxygym’, building a website around the business name without checking the trademark. “I didn’t [secure] the trademark and there was a company in WA who had. They’re kick yourself errors,” O’Brien says. “But it taught me a lot and I’ve come to be proud of it.”

“I REALISED I HAD FLEXIBILITY WITH RUNNING MY OWN BUSINESS AND THAT’S WHAT I NEEDED AND WANTED, TO BE THERE FOR MY GIRLS. IT’S KIND OF SCARY, BUT I’VE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO CONTROL HOW MUCH WORK I DO, SHOWING MY DAUGHTERS IF YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO SOMETHING AND WORK HARD - BUT NOT WORK YOURSELF TO DEATH - YOU CAN ACHIEVE THINGS.”

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